Orders & Medals Society of America Forums Other Medal Related Topics Identifications Attempting to identify a strange medal

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  • #12031
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    My parents picked this medal up at a junk store yesterday. The top bar appears to be brass, and says "Grant’s (or "Grant," not sure) Memorial Day." The ribbon is an American flag, and it appears to have a simple brass suspension. The medal is a sort of five pointed cross, with the following initials in the points of the cross: N at 10 o’clock, Y at 12 o’ clock, C at 2 o’clock, S at 5 o’clock, and P at 7 o’clock. The red circle in the middle has "97" inscribed in it.

    I apologize for the poor photo. My father took the pic with his iphone and he is in the middle of nowhere right now and can’t get me a better shot.

    This is the history I was able to dig up. While Grant’s Memorial is in Washington DC, Grant’s Tomb in NYC is actually properly titled "The General Grant National Memorial." So I’m guessing the NYC initials refer to New York City. It was completed in 1897, which is probably what the number in the center of the medal means. But I’m stumped on several points still. What does the PS (or SP) stand for? What agency, club, or organization minted these? How many of these even exist?

    Any help would be appreciated!

    #14688
    timoneer
    Participant

    Can you get clearer pictures of the medal?

    #14691
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Yes, but not until next Tuesday or Wednesday I’m afraid. All they have is an iphone with them, which isn’t the most accurate camera ever made. They won’t be back until then.

    #14692
    sirius
    Keymaster

    I don’t know how old the iPhone is, but on the recent models hitting the screen where you want focus will focus the image. Also, it’s better to be a bit away from the subject, and then using the zoom on the phone to get closer. The more recent iPhones can certainly produce better pictures, if you work at bit at it. Hope this helps.

    Cheers, -Peter

    #14695
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Haha, explaining that to my father over the phone will be harder than its worth! I’ll just wait until Tuesday when he is back and get you a nice crisp photo then.

    #14737
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ok, this is better. If you still can’t see the photo clearly (I had to shrink it for this forum), I can put a full resolution shot up on my photobucket account.

    #14738
    timoneer
    Participant

    I’m going to take a stab in the dark about this. General Ulysses S. Grant was military commander during the Civil War and under his command the Union Army defeated the Confederates. He later ruled over the south during the Reconstruction Period. He was nominated for Republican candidate for President and won the office in 1868. He ran again and won in 1872. His second term was marred by scandals occurring with his corrupt appointees, and the economic Panic of 1873 was blamed on policies of his administration. His personal reputation was severely damaged, and he left office in 1877 considered a failure by many. He went on a world tour for 2 years, some implying that it was a sort of self imposed exile. He was met with popular outside the US, and met with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, with Prince Bismarck in Germany, he met Pope Leo XIII at the Vatican then ventured east to Russia, Egypt, the Holy Land, Siam, Burma, and China. In Japan, he was received by Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. When he came back to the US, he was surprised to find that his reputation had changed, and was now one of the most popular men in the US, if not the world. Wherever he went, he was met with wildly excited crowds, filled with veterans of both the Union and Confederate armies. He settled in New York. He was broke, and turned to writing to help pay his creditors. Mark Twain encouraged Grant to write his memoirs, and Gen. Grant’s Memoirs is considered a classic American work.

    Grant died of throat cancer at 63 on Thursday, July 23,1885.

    There was a movement started the day after he died to erect a monument to Grant in New York City. The Mayor asked several prominent businessmen to form a committee, and it became known as the Grant Monument Association and was headed by former President Chester A. Arthur. The Grant Monument Association started to collect donations in order to buy land, et cetera. I believe that the medal you have is a commemorative medal for those who donated money, and my guess is that "N.Y.C.P.S." Stands for "New York City Popular Subscription" (subscriber?). As you already know, it was completed in 1897.

    I’d recommend getting in touch with the folks at General Grant National Memorial. http://www.nps.gov/gegr/contacts.htm I bet that they’d be able to give you better information, and I’m sure that they’d be interested in seeing it.

    Hope that helps…

    #14739
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Great tip off there! I did some good ol’ fashioned googling and found this article: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F30711F8355D10738DDDA90A94D9415B8584F0D3

    It could well be that this medal is one of the mementos mentioned in the article. But there are two problems: 1) If this is how the GMA thanked donors, surely there should be thousands of these out there. Why can’t I find a picture of one on the net? 2) The medal specifically mentions "Grant Memorial Day," and the date (97). Wouldn’t the GMA have given out commemorative trinkets to donors in advance to entice more giving (since the fundraising efforts did not go as well as hoped)?

    Its an interesting puzzle, this . . .

    #14748
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Spoke with the Grant’s Tomb people. They were able to confirm that several medals were struck in commemoration of the event in 1897. They sent me to the Grant Monument Association, and I’ve sent the picture to a PhD on their board of trustees to see what he might have to say.

    If anyone else has anything to recommend, let me know!

    #14750
    Frank Dutil
    Participant

    Looks like you’re on the right track!

    Do please keep us informed of anything you might find out! It would also make a nice addition to our database.

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